Thoughts from the ledge: Peter Weller – The Renaissance man of horror

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Peter Weller – Courtesy of HorrorHound Weekend

In preparation for HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis, at 1428 Elm we decided to take a look at the career of Peter Weller. With his body of work and accomplishments, he may be the horror genre’s Renaissance man.

“My career was always full of risks one way or another and that’s the way I like it.” – Peter Weller

A Man of Many Talents

Peter Weller is a respected actor who is known for his ability to play a variety of roles in different genres. However, he is also an accomplished director as well. He has helmed episodes of The Last Ship, Hawaii 5-0, Longmire, The Strain and Under the Dome to name a few series.

In addition to his work in front of and behind the camera, he is also an exceptional musician. For trivia buffs, he plays the trumpet and used to be in a jazz band with none other than Jeff Goldblum.

Not only is he passionate about music but he is equally passionate about art. Weller has a Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance Art History from UCLA. While he was working on his masters at Syracuse University, he also taught history courses.

A frequent presence on the History Channel, he was the host of a fabulous series called Engineering an Empire. Its purpose was to highlight various civilizations and their accomplishments such as Egypt and Rome.

For 1428 Elm, we decided to spotlight his contributions in the realm of horror films. On this list, you won’t find his more popular efforts like Robocop or Dexter. Our goal is to introduce readers to a different side of his filmography. Now, here are our choices for some of his best work in the genre.

The Contenders

Of Unknown Origin

Of Unknown Origin – Peter Weller – Courtesy of Warner Bros., Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC), Famous Players Limited

This 1983 charmer is all about one man’s battle with a rodent. While it sounds cheesy, it definitely isn’t. Weller plays Bart Hughes. On the outside, he appears to have it all. A great job, a loving wife and an adorable son. Life is good.

When his wife Meg (Shannon Tweed) and his child go on a holiday, Bart expects to spend most of his time focusing on work so that he can snag that promotion that he has been eyeing. Of course, nothing works out quite the way he wanted it to.

He discovers an annoying rat in his basement. Instead of calling in a professional to handle the vermin, he takes matters into his own hands. Becoming obsessed with destroying the creature, he begins his descent into madness. As a result of his efforts, his beautifully renovated brownstone is torn to bits.

While this isn’t high brow entertainment, Weller’s performance is worth noting and what could have been an exercise in B movie territory becomes an interesting look at one man’s deteriorating psyche.